The work of B.F. Skinner has made a lasting impact on the world of behavioral psychology. Often times being referred to as having controversial theories, B.F. Skinner had unnerving faith in the area he studied. Behavioral psychology, the reason people and animals act the way they do, can be an extremely difficult task to observe. However, with the making of the “Skinner box,” B.F. Skinner was able to do just that. He observed mice in a controlled environment; provided reinforcements to some and nothing for others, which allowed him to develop his theory of Operant Conditioning. Skinner based is theory on the work of Edward Thorndike’s “Law of Effect” theory. Through his research, Skinner was able to determine that reinforcements strengthened good behavior while punishments weakened bad behaviors. Skinner also believed that the best way to understand behaviors was to look at the causes and consequences of each different behavior. Many people will still conduct bad behaviors if the consequences are not steep or sever enough; if the think they can “live with” the results of their actions. Operant Conditioning
In 1938, Skinner coined the term Operant Conditioning. Skinner believed that when reinforcements followed a certain wanted behaviors, that the subject would more than likely continue the behavior. Operant conditioning involves rewarding a person or animal when they perform a behavior that is considered appropriate. In Skinner’s theory, there are three different responses to behaviors: Neutral operant are responses that do not increase or decrease the likelihood of a behavior recurring; Reinforce operant are responses that can be either good or bad, and increase the possibility of a behavior being repeated; lastly is punish operant responses that decrease the chance of a behavior being repeated because punishments fade bad behaviors. Punishment
Punishment can often be confused with negative reinforcement. Punishments are intended to reduce...
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